Despite its name, Alien Ramen is based on a very regional delicacy…but it is green.
Aliens come in all shapes and sizes from the fun-loving party animal Alf to the prissy know-it-all The Great Gazoo. But a mere mention of the word “alien” will likely conjure up images of those xenomorphs from the film series of the same name. With their cold latex-like skin, perpetually drooling and skull crushing pairs of jaws, and pure glowing acid running through their veins, it’s hard not to look at them and think, “I bet those taste pretty good.”
At least it was for someone in Fukuoka Prefecture who conjured up Alien Ramen, on sale for 270 yen (US$2.50). Looking at the package, I’m sure we’re instantly reminded of that famous scene from the sci-fi horror classic Spaceballs where John Hurt orders the “special.”
However, a few people might look at it and say, “Hey dummy, those aren’t aliens. Those are fish!”
To those people I say: Boy, you got some nerve, but you are correct.
Alien Ramen is made by a food company called Yoakedyaya in Yanagawa, Fukuoka. This establishment serves seafood sourced from the nearby Ariake Sea and Alien Ramen is no different with its special ingredient: Odontamblyopus lacepedii, called warasubo in Japanese and nicknamed the “Alien of the Ariake Sea” for its underdeveloped eyes and large teeth.
Not the most appetizing fish in the world, but warasubo does have a following in the area with people saying it goes well with dried apple and miso soup. To find out what it does for ramen we sent our writer Masanuki Sunakoma over to a Yoakedyaya dealer. He decided to go at night because that’s when he mostly goes out…mostly. Upon buying a pack, the clerk warned him, “The soup is green but it’s tasty.”
Pondering that advice Masanuki returned to the kitchen and opened the package to reveal a brick of dried noodles and a foil pouch simply labeled, “ALIEN.”
Preparation was just like any other instant ramen: Boil some water and let the noodles soak for three minutes. After they become tender, add the ALIEN.
After mixing in the ALIEN, the broth began to turn a deep green. Not only that, it also became more viscous. Masanuki began to have serious doubts about this instant ramen. That being said, he did give it credit for recreating the “alien” ambiance quite well.
▼ “Game over, man. Game over!”
From the package, our writer learned that the green coloring came from gardenia flowers rather than alien blood, so at least he felt safe. Nevertheless his mouth wasn’t exactly watering.
Starting with a sip of the greed broth, Masanuki was taken aback by the taste. It kind of wasn’t terrible, but not good either. It had a savory seafood flavor that he never experienced before, but combined with the green coloring it was a struggle to enjoy.
On the other hand, the noodles were quite good. They were made from a high quality locally harvested wheat that gave it a really nice texture.
It was a wild ride, and probably not one Masanuki will take again. As he left to get some Michelin-star rated instant ramen instead, he had some parting advice: “If you’re looking for something totally new or just a neat souvenir from Fukuoka, the Alien Ramen isn’t a terrible purchase.”
However, if you’re a picky eater, it’s probably best to just take off and nuke the entire meal from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.
Photos: SoraNews24 (unless otherwise noted)